U.S teens have drastically reduced the use of illicit drugs, but have got enchanted with prescription painkillers, ringing the alarm bell, experts opine.
The MTF survey has been the concerted effort of researchers at the University of Michigan since 1975. The most recent survey, collating information from 48,460 students from 410 public and private schools, from classes eighth, 10th and 12th grades has revealed that marijuana use had significantly reduced among all three grades between 2005 and 2006. The most improvement was 36 percent as observed among eighth-graders, and following closely were the 10th-graders at 28%. High school seniors showed an 18 percent reduction in the use of drugs. There was a discernible decline in the use of alcohol as well.
Despite the good news about decline in the use of illicit drugs, the use of painkiller Vicodin, recorded a high among all three grades. The most alarming trend was depicted by the latest report enabled by the first national survey conducted on the random use of cold or cough medicines. The report states that 4.2 percent of eighth-graders, 5.3 percent of 10th-graders and 6.9 percent of 12th-graders have been abusing cold or cough medicines. Overdose of such medicines could lead to lethal side-effects.
Dr. Grant Mitchell, chief of psychiatry at Northern Westchester Hospital Center, in Mount Kisco, N.Y said, "This doesn't surprise me. As we write more and more prescriptions for potentially legitimate uses for parents, it provides access for kids. They don't have the same need to go out and procure illicit drugs. Parents need to be aware that medicines prescribed to them and sitting around the house are a source for abuse for kids."